Between the Lines

Why a new adventure race in Charlemont matters.

Comments (0)
Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The connections that exist between the communities of the Valley are vital to the region’s future—vital to its prosperity, to its quality of life, to its sustainability.

If school kids in Springfield stopped participating in annual sports jamborees in places like Amherst and Hatfield, if people in Bernardston didn’t go to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield or people in Belchertown didn’t hike out to MassMoCA in North Adams, the Valley that we know would be utterly unrecognizable.

The region is also blessed with a continual influx of students and tourists, not an insignificant number of whom stay or find their ways back here at some future point. The attraction of the region to so many isn’t just one or even a few obvious things, but surely the near equal proximity we enjoy to both nature and culture and the mix of urban, suburban and rural experiences that are available to us makes the four western counties of Massachusetts very special.

Later in the month, at a ski resort that not only survives but is now thriving in Charlemont, an influx of visitors will come in the form of Navy SEALs, with legions of athletically-inclined and adventurous souls from near and far in their slipstream. The weekend of Sept. 13-14, Berkshire East Ski Resort hosts the first-ever Bone Frog Challenge, a nine-plus-mile muddy obstacle race with 36 SEAL-inspired obstacles—about one every quarter mile. According to organizers, the Bone Frog Challenge is “owned, operated and designed by U.S. Navy SEALS,” supporting charities that assist Navy SEALs and their families, including the Navy SEAL Foundation, 31 Heroes and One Team One Fight.

The event is only the most recent addition to Berkshire East’s calendar as the resort continues to reinvest in its future as a four-season destination. While many ski areas in southern New England have struggled and often failed in a region where snow isn’t always plentiful, the Schaefers, the family that owns Berkshire East, are finding ways to grow and diversify by investing not only in new attractions such as tubing parks and zipline canopy tours, but in energy independence in the forms of a windmill and a solar energy farm. The Bone Frog Challenge (, which is as much a big party as it is an athletic event, shows the Schaefers’ drive to build partnerships with a new generation of event organizers and to compete with big, often corporately-owned resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Events like Bone Frog keep people moving and the local economy growing, boosting employment in communities like Charlemont in ways that also preserve open spaces and rural character, while adding to the wonderful diversity of Western Mass.•




New User/Guest?

Find it Here:
search type:
search in:

« Previous   |   Next »
Print Email RSS feed

The Zipcar Is Here
Car sharing takes hold in the Valley.
Under the Microscope
Did ex-WSU president Evan Dobelle use university resources to support an identity as well as a lifestyle?
From Our Readers
Casino Opposition “Selfish”; Cut Foreign Aid, Not Our Military
Between the Lines: Deval’s Capital Management
He can rehab his office, but what about his legacy?
From Snowden to the Pentagon Papers
Can student interest in civics be rekindled?
Fighting for the Dunbar Center
Will this beloved institution in Springfield’s Mason Square survive?
From Our Readers
A Republican to the Rescue?
Charlie Baker isn’t exactly an outsider, but in a one-party state, he sure looks like one.